January 13, 2015

New Doctors and a Remedicated Me

January, 2015: Refurbished
I'm feeling more at ease as the new year begins. Big factors: advice from and confidence in my three new docs: a neurologist consultant, an internist/geriatrician, and a neurologist.

Here they are:

Neurologist Consultant
When I started this blog, my doctors at the time preferred that I not mention them by name. So, anonymity became my guideline when talking about my healthcare pros.

But I'm making an exception for the neurologist I consulted a few months ago for these reasons:

  • I won't be working with him regularly, 
  • His modus operandi was unique, and 
  • His feedback was very helpful.

He is Dr. Stephen Grill, chairman of the Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Centers of Maryland, which is affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine. Their offices are located in Elkridge, Maryland -- about an hour's drive from D.C.

A member of my Parkinson's support group had recommended Dr. Grill but warned it might take several months to get an appointment. He was right. Each new patient must complete a lengthy questionnaire, and Dr. Grill spends a long time with his patients, especially new ones.

I brought my daughter Ann and blog colleague Stanley to my initial consultation with Dr. Grill. They took extensive notes during the 2+ hours we were there... quite a contrast to the 15-20 minutes I typically spend with doctors during appointments.

I came away with lots of information and recommendations. We drove back to Washington during rush hour in a driving rainstorm. The harrowing trip underscored the need to find a specialist closer to home.

I've always used an internist as my primary health care provider, and I was comfortable staying with the same one for more than 20 years. But he decided to begin a concierge practice several years ago. For a variety of reasons, I decided to find a new doctor.

He suggested a few doctors he thought would work well with me. I picked one, a bright young doctor. We never really hit it off, primarily because she disagreed with my decision to stop taking blood pressure medication. She proved to be right, as we will see.

I realized I wanted a geriatrician as my primary healthcare provider. I described the process that led me to my new geriatrician -- and our first meeting -- in this blog post.

My Regular Neurologist
Here's how I selected my new neurologist:
My new quarterback -- the geriatrician -- is affiliated with the George Washington University Hospital here is Washington, DC and recommended a neurologist, also with a GWU Hospital connection. This neurologist won me over during our initial interview when she told me we'd never finish if I kept babbling away on tangential matters. Just answer the questions, she said. I have a special fondness for bright, outspoken, feisty women. I married one and fathered another.

I had my first regular meeting with this neurologist last week, accompanied by my aforementioned daughter. My daughter and I are not always in agreement about medical issues and personnel. But we both left this meeting very enthusiastic about the doctor and her diagnosis and recommendations.
As it turns out, she and Dr. Grill are both members of the board of the local chapter of the American Parkinson's Foundation.

Now, let's return to the blood pressure issues that had me contemplating my final exit. As it turned out, all the members of my new medical team agreed on the problem... and the remedy.

Their consensus is coming up next. 

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